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  • katybateson

Teacher Angst

I’ve been teaching improv for 10 years now and a bit over 1 of those has been online.


I find I have 2 responses after teaching online. The first is feeling elated! I can’t stop smiling, I feel a bit giddy and I’m buzzing. The class went well, my students did brilliant scenes, they obviously had fun, I laughed, they laughed, we all had fun.


The second is feeling uncomfortable. I shut down zoom and something just doesn’t feel right. I feel off balance, off kilter and I know that something was off about the class.


This is one of the things I find hardest about being an improv teacher. I step away from teaching and there’s no one there to give me feedback, no one to discuss what went well and what could be improved on, no appraisal, no reassurance, just me. I have no boss, no colleagues, just me, myself and the critical voice in my head!


And sometimes I know it’s me being hypersensitive. The class had low energy because everyone is tired, I’ve had a tough day with my boys and that taints my view or zoom is being a dick and I feel unprofessional.


But sometimes a class doesn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Sometimes one student just obviously isn’t enjoying the class or an exercise I’ve planned just doesn’t work or 2 improvisers just don’t gel.


And I’ve got to admit I find it hard not to take it personally. I put so much into We Are Improv and I want my students to enjoy themselves, so I put a lot of pressure on myself.


It’s also tough teaching online. There’s no after class chat, no opportunity to approach someone who didn’t seem to be having fun to check in, no friend to ask how they think it went.


I love teaching online and the opportunities it brings, improvising with people from all over the world, making new friends, improvising in my slippers! But it can be lonely too.


I’m still trying to figure out how to self evaluate, how to not take things personally and to ask for feedback!


If you’ve taken a course recently and you’ve enjoyed it. Drop the teacher an email and tell them they enjoyed it. I know they’ll appreciate it!

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